As South Africa stands on the verge of new lockdown changes, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has provided us with plenty of reasons to be optimistic going forward – even if he did keep his cards close to his chest.
South Africa records lowest number of COVID-19 cases since June – but why is testing so low?
Mkhize gave SABC a full debrief after South Africa recorded its lowest amount of new COVID-19 infections since June, with just over 3 700 positive tests logged in the past 24 hours. Although testing has been scaled back, the minister has explained why this is one of many encouraging aspects reported so far in August:
- All provinces are now seeing declining numbers. The Western Cape is over the worst by far, and KZN / Eastern Cape are both heading in that direction. Meanwhile, Gauteng’s separate caseload is also going down noticeably.
- The start of July ‘was SA’s most difficult time’, but Mkhize states that numbers have been improving since the end of last month.
- We are now seeing weekly numbers of COVID-19 cases drop, not just daily ones.
- You may have noticed a huge drop in testing this week. Apparently, that’s because the surge in new cases has tailed off; the country now at the point where fewer people are getting infected, and therefore, testing requirements have eased.
- The country doesn’t have as many new patients as it did in the past one-or-two months – simply because ‘there are fewer people getting the infection’. Epidemiology isn’t always a tough nut to crack, you know…
When will new lockdown changes come into effect?
So, with these developments in mind, will the government throw caution to the wind with our lockdown changes? Although we can expect some restrictions to be lifted, Zweli Mkhize doesn’t want ‘rash decisions’:
“While we are quite optimistic about these trends, we must get these numbers down past one thousand new cases per day – that’d be fantastic. We also do not want to cause a resurgence of the virus, as it could be worse than what we’ve already experienced. Therefore, we cannot just open up as if everything is normal.”
Zweli Mkhize predicts ‘good news’ over the horizon
When probed about what lockdown changes South Africans could expect to experience by the end of this week, the head of our health department explained that things will only progress if there is a ‘sound scientific basis’ to do so. However, he left us all on a cliffhanger, claiming that ‘good news’ was on its way…
“We are preparing submissions and need to make recommendations to ease certain restrictions. A lot of issues are being discussed and the president is guiding on us on what will happen next. We want to have a thorough scientific basis for our next steps, but we are all responsible for our own destiny.”
“We must all wear our masks, wash our hands, and sanitise. If we continue doing this, I’m sure we can all expect some good news soon. However, we recommend that the State of Disaster remains; it can’t end yet.”